FORMER president Jacob Zuma has failed in his bid to have prosecutor Billy Downer removed from his corruption trial.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court judge, Piet Koen dismissed his application on Tuesday, 26 October as it did not meet the requirements.

Zuma had brought an application for a so-called “special plea”, in which he argued that Downer be removed from his trial because he was biased.

The former head of state said the prosecutor had lost the “title to prosecute” him.

The judge said there was no basis to give a wider meaning to the word “title” to include instances of a lack of independence and impartiality or bias on the part of the prosecutor because there were adequate remedies in the law to protect an accused person.

Koen said: “I conclude that Zuma’s complaints, even if taken at face value, do not affect ‘title’ given its correct meaning in S106, (1h) of Downer to prosecute.”

He said Zuma should raise his complaints in a separate substantive affidavit, which Zuma failed to do.

“The special plea, therefore, falls to be dismissed,” said the judge.

Koen said the grounds raised for the removal were based on speculation and suspicion or inadmissible hearsay evidence and not on fact.

He said even if at limited instances, at best, the issues raised by Zuma qualify as possible irregularities, they were not enough to have Downer removed.

The former head of state accused Downer of engaging in unethical conduct and argued he would not have a fair trial that stems from the arms deal of the late 1990s.

Zuma, who attended Tuesday’s proceedings, also claimed the prosecutor leaked information to the media and spies from the Central Intelligence Agency of the US and his recent medical records.

Zuma sent the records to Downer in August while he was still in jail to prove his argument that he was too ill to personally come to court.

On Thursday, 21 October, Zuma was at the Pietermaritzburg cop shop to open two criminal cases against Downer for allegedly leaking the confidential medical records to a certain journalist.

Zuma was not expected to be present in court.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman, Advocate Mthunzi Mhaga said on the issues of the charges against Downer, no decision has been taken and the case was still with the police.

“It has no bearing on him performing his duties as a prosecutor in this case,” he said.

Before the proceedings started, Zuma’s spokesman Mzwanele Manyi said the former president decided to attend because he respected the courts.

“An attorney could have done this but out of respect of the court he came,” said Manyi.

The matter was postponed to 11 April 2022 for trial.